The Poem of Empedocles: The Text and Translation
Brad Inwood, Empedocles
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This revised edition of The Poem of Empedocles (1992) integrates substantial new material from a recently discovered papyrus and published by A. Martin and O. Primavesi. The papyrus contains evidence of over seventy lines or part lines of poetry, of which more than fifty are both new and usable. The integration of this material into the previously known fragments has significant impact on our understanding of Empedocles, one of the most influential philosophers and poets of antiquity.
This volume provides the reader with the fullest and most accessible set of evidence for the doctrines and poetic achievement of this Presocratic philosopher. The Greek text of the fragments (with English facing page translation) has been revised to include the new material; textual notes have also been enhanced. The revised introduction orients the reader to the study of Empedocles and assesses the significance of the new material. The new papyrus fragments shed some light on the controversial question of the number of poems and provide new insight into the relationship between human beings and the material components we are composed of and into the reasons for our incarnation. Most important, the new fragments yield further confirmation that eschatological and cosmological themes were inextricably interconnected in Empedocles' philosophical poetry.
to Parmenidean standards of permanence. I see no reason to doubt that love and strife are meant to be corporeal, just as the four so-called material elements are: see line 20. 67 See CTXT-19b, where Simplicius shows himself aware that in some respects love and strife are just like the roots and that in others they are not. See too A33a for the doctrine that love and strife are distinct from the roots: the former are called principle-powers and the latter are called elements; also A32. 68 But see
wide range of uncertainty about their interpretation. In 137/147 there is a promise of life with 'the other immortals,' sharing their hearth and table. It is probable that 'other' here does not mean that the person who is to share the life of the immortals is himself immortal, for a common128 use of 'other' (aAAo?) is to refer to something distinct from the first thing mentioned, which does not share its characteristics. The most familiar instance of this is in the Odyssey, 6.84, where it is said
218, discussing Politics 1.8 1256bl5-22). Such an overall teleology of the natural world is familiar, defensible (on certain assumptions, few of which Empedocles shared), and interesting. But it is much less compelling than the claim that teleological explanation is essential in understanding the growth and development of each organism in its own right and that is the guise which Aristotle's teleology most often and typically takes on in his text. 72 The Poem of Empedocles the case of animal
his hands, wanting to confirm the opinion that he was a god. When he was an old man he hurled himself into a crater of fire at night so that his body would not be found. And so he died, his sandal being cast out by the fire. He was also called the 'wind-stopper' because when a great wind attacked the city of Acragas he drove it out, by surrounding the city with asses' hides. Gorgias of Leontini, the public speaker, was his student. And he wrote in epic verse two books12 about the nature of things
DOCTRINE A28 a) Aristotle Metaphysics 1.3, 984a8-ll. Empedocles [gave as the first cause] the four elements, adding earth as a fourth to those already mentioned [i.e. water, air, and fire]. For these always persist and do not come into being, except in respect to manyness or fewness, since they are combined into a unity and separated out of a unity. b) Simplicius, Commentary on Aristotle's Physics CIAG 9, 25.21-26.4. See CTXT-19b (follows A7). A29 Plato Sophist 242c-e. It seems to me that each